Boys and girls cross country teams wrap up successful seasons

When you look up ‘consistency’ in the Oxford Dictionary, the first definition that comes up is “the achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time.”  Right after that should be Port Washington cross country. 

After winning back-to-back county titles, the boys cross country team was heavily impacted by the loss of the 2022 graduating class.  Five of the top seven runners were gone, including the lethal duo of Colin Funk, who currently runs at George Washington University, and Kevin Taylor.  Without these stars, the team needed people to step up, and step up they did. 

“We knew the pressure on us to fill the holes Funk and Taylor left, and that helped motivate us even more every day.  Without a true #1 runner to start the season, we competed with each other to push ourselves to be the best we could be,” said senior Joseph Asselta.

Through relentless hard work and practice, the team progressed immensely. After an injury-riddled start to his career, junior Steven Theodoropoulos proved himself to be capable of leading the team, shattering a 17 minute 5k and finishing with a personal record of 16:36.  Juniors Jeremy Fahmy, Max Marro, and Harrison Maute, along with sophomores Will Ahmuty, Riley Funk, Marshall Huron, and Julian Kimball, helped lead the team to an undefeated regular season.  Seniors Joseph Asselta and Christian Coronel rounded out the squad.

Despite their situation at the beginning of the season, the boys secured the Division and Conference title, with the entire top seven running sub-19 minutes, an impressive feat.  However, the Conference title wasn’t their goal.  The team already had their eyes set on the county.

“We’d built up a lot of confidence from the regular season meets, and we knew we all had to show up to take down Syosset,” said Kimball. 

With a tough Syosset team standing in the way, Port looked to make a three-peat in the County Championship on Oct. 29 at Bethpage State Park.  Steven Theodoropolous led the way with a 16:38.  Despite all-around strong performances, the boys fell just short, placing second to Syosset. 

“I knew what I was capable of, but I haven’t gotten the opportunity to show what I could do until this season because of injuries.  The support I got from the team day in and day out really helped me get to the point I’m at today,” said Theodoropolous.

The team’s season ended at the State Qualifier meet, where they placed second behind Calhoun.  This time, the boys placed ahead of Syosset in a tight matchup. Ahmuty, Fahmy, Kimball, Marro, and Theodoropolous all received All-County awards, and Maute, Funk, and freshman Oliver Navo earned All-Conference honors.

While the season may not have ended the way they wanted it to, the future is bright for the boys.  All top seven runners are returning, with the talent distributed evenly throughout the junior and sophomore classes.  Navo led the freshman with a low 18 minute final time, and more freshmen will look to make an impact in the years coming.

The girls cross country team also wrapped up a strong season.  Coming off of their first Conference title since 1985, the team had to deal with the loss of many talented seniors from the ‘22 class as well.  However, young talent propelled the team throughout the season.  The team hit the ground running, with a perfect score in a 4K at Bethpage—every top five runner was a Viking.  Sophomore Ashley Carillo and junior Eve Siff-Scherr led the way, and all of the top five broke 18:30.  Carillo and Siff-Scherr continued showing out throughout the season. 

While the girls were unable to secure the Conference title again, they placed in the top three at the County Championship, and third at State Qualifiers.  Ashley finished second overall, with Eve following close behind at fifth, earning them both a spot at the State Championship Race on Nov. 12.  This is Eve’s second appearance in the State Championship race, as she was the first girl to do so since 2017 when she competed last year.  The race was held at Vernon Verona Sherrill High School nearby Syracuse.  Ashley continued her amazing season with a top 50 finish. 

Like the boys, most of the top runners are returning next season, so there is an encouraging future ahead for the girls as well.